Hello. I’m Charlie. Here I am right now. I’m a freelance researcher and I work a bit here at A New Direction. Last year I worked here on a project called Biglop – I blogged about it here. The climax of this was the School of Olympic Research; pictures here, essay here.

Aside from continuing to blog about the Olympics, I’m also going to write about a learning programme for young people called Headstart which will be  running here at A New Direction until this time next year. That’s what this blog is going to be about.

The programme is called Headstart, because it aims to give young people a Headstart in the creative industries. It ran last year as a series of weekend groups run by industry professionals where different groups of young people learnt to master photography, events management, film-making and social media journalism.

This year the programme will be slightly different.

Last year the different groups had little contact with each other. This year we will be bringing them all together 8 times over the course of the year. Last year there was no end-point for headstart. This year the overall aim for the programme is to establish a temporary cultural venue somewhere in East London made by Headstarters for other young Londoners. Third, all the groups will have the context of 2012 and the Olympics for their learning – we will be making the most of this unique year in the capital to help them explore London’s culture and working out what the Olympics are all about.

The Creative Industries are a bit of a moving target. The technologies, business models and processes that they work with are constantly changing.  That’s why the headstart programme is as much about developing a mindset and an attitude to applying creativity and working with people as it is about mastering specific skills. I think that there is a lot we can learn from things like Hyper Island, the Kaos Pilots and other pedagogical approaches which are about students taking knowledge for themselves and developing real world projects with other people. This means that Headstart is for ambitious young film-makers, photographers, journalists but it is really for all young people who want to use their creativity to make a difference to the city in which they live.

At the moment the programme is just a rough set of ideas. In the coming weeks we’ll have to promote it and find new people who want to join. We’ll need to develop an identity and work out how to communicate it in a simple way people can understand. Work out where it’s all going to happen… etc etc. Hmm. Lots to do.

This blog is called The Headstarters because much of this year is going to be about finding out about what a Headstarter is, what kind of skills and capacities they need and how they get them. We’ll all be learning together. It should be a really interesting year.

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